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Kejriwal Reaches Out to TM Krishna as Concert Cancelled After Hate Messages, Singer Rebukes AAI

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the capital’s culture minister, reached out to the singer directly to make the offer, sources told News18, hours after it was reported that AAI called off the concert, bowing to pressure from trolls.

News18.com

Updated:November 15, 2018, 7:04 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi reached out to Carnatic singer TM Krishna on Thursday, saying they would be happy to host a concert for him after the Airport Authority of India abruptly cancelled his show, allegedly after the singer was targeted by right-wing trolls in social media.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the capital’s culture minister, reached out to the singer directly to make the offer, sources told News18, hours after it was reported that AAI called off the concert, bowing to pressure from trolls.

Krishna was originally scheduled to perform at “Dance and Music in the Park” festival at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri that was to be organised jointly by the AAI and cultural body, SPIC-MACAY.

On November 10, AAI had announced that Krishna will be performing at the event in a tweet. Several advertisements were also released in some newspapers of the city.

However, while speaking to News18, Krishna revealed that AAI informed SPIC-MACAY on Tuesday night that the concert was called off due to “some exigencies of work,” and that the organization is no longer “in a position to go ahead with the dance & music concert.”

Krishna had re-tweeted AAI’s invitation on Monday, which triggered a spate of trolls who targeted the government body for sponsoring the concert. The tweets accused AAI of using public funds to sponsor Krishna, who sings about “Jesus and Allah”, is “anti-India”, a “converted bigot” and an “Urban Naxal”.

Soon after, the hashtag #DisinviteTMKrishna started doing rounds on the micro-blogging website.

The trolls also tagged senior functionaries in the government, including Minister of Railways, Coal and Corporate Affairs Piyush Goyal and Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu.

Krishna said he was even given assurances that the concert would go ahead as scheduled but it was cancelled without intimating him. "This is alarming. At least they could've come up with a better excuse to cancel my performance," he told News18.

“Music fraternity is very timid and rarely do they take positions that are anti-establishment. I hope it changes culturally. We should be a country of artists who come together in supporting freedom,” he added.

AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra has denied the allegations that suggest the concert was postponed due to the backlash received for inviting Krishna.

Krishna’s views on constitutional values like secularism and his attempts widening the reach of Carnatic music concert repertoire by including hymns in praise of Christ and Allah, and poems by writers including Perumal Murugan, have made him a target of right-wing attacks.

In August, a Maryland temple had cancelled his concert, allegedly after Hindutva activists accused him of singing Christian hymns. In January this year, a Hindu right-wing group had threatened to disrupt his concert in Tirupur, the textile town in western Tamil Nadu, but it was held under enhanced security.

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